If you’re a team of one and thinking of your next hire, keep it simple. Make sure he or she can write — really well — and in a variety of formats. Get someone who’s no stranger to blogging, but who also feels just as comfortable writing eBooks, scripting videos, and conducting customer interviews for case studies. In many cases, the ideal person is someone who has been in some sort of marketing communications or journalism role for a while, but is willing to wear multiple hats as you continue to grow your team. Bonus points if he or she is able to answer the question “How do you feel about the Oxford comma?”
Map your additional hires to the needs of the buying process. In the B2B world, much effort is expended on creating content to fit the needs of the entire
marketing funnel. First, you want to have enough great content to support thought leadership and brand awareness at the top of the funnel. Next, you need to consider how you’re going to continue
to educate and nurture people as they move further down the funnel. And finally, you’ll need to create content that can support people who are actively evaluating your product or service, and
are close to making a buying decision.
If you think about it this way, it makes sense to hire people skilled in creating content for each of these stages. Do you need to strengthen your top-funnel content to boost your brand? Seek out someone who will live and breathe your blog and churn out bylines in a heartbeat. Are you planning on scaling your mid-funnel nurturing efforts? Look to hire someone who knows the ins and outs of email marketing, who will think of innovative ways to engage prospects currently in your database or who visit your website. Need more help with content to support your sales team in the later stages of the buying process? Find someone who is a pro at leading product webinars and thinking through tools like ROI calculators.
Writing is only one part of content marketing. See how innovative candidates are with a single idea. Asking candidates for a writing sample should be standard practice, but this is really only one piece of the puzzle. Instead, get a sense of the variety of their thinking by offering up this challenge: “Using what you know about our Product X, think of a theme that we could use to promote a relaunch of it, and pretend you are in charge of all the content to support this launch. Come up with a content marketing plan that involves at least three online channels. Write a sample blog post, email, and tweet all designed to support this launch.” Not only does this ask candidates to demonstrate their willingness to think through the various parts of an integrated content campaign, but it will also show you how comfortable and adept they are developing content for a variety of formats.
Ask candidates what success metrics they use to measure the impact of their content marketing. When it comes to content marketing, the “content” is literally only half of what matters. The other half is the “marketing” part, something that can get easily overlooked if candidates blow you away with their exceptional creativity or writing skills. When it comes to hiring the right people for a content marketing team, ask potential hires to think through how they would measure their success with different initiatives. But don’t be too worried if their answers don’t necessarily align with the exact metrics you may be using today. The important thing to evaluate is their ability to think beyond words, images, and status updates to driving real business value from the content they create.